July 29, 2021
Area(s) of Interest: Public Health
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across California, Governor Gavin Newsom took action this week to require all state workers and workers in health care and high-risk congregate settings to either show proof of full vaccination or be tested at least once per week. He also encouraged all local government and other employers to adopt a similar protocol.
“We are now dealing with a pandemic of the unvaccinated, and it’s going to take renewed efforts to protect Californians from the dangerous Delta variant,” said Gov. Newsom. “As the state’s largest employer, we are leading by example and requiring all state and health care workers to show proof of vaccination or be tested regularly, and we are encouraging local governments and businesses to do the same. Vaccines are safe – they protect our family, those who truly can’t get vaccinated, our children and our economy. Vaccines are the way we end this pandemic.”
California will also be requiring health care settings to verify that workers are fully vaccinated or tested regularly. Unvaccinated workers will be subject to at least weekly COVID-19 testing and will be required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment. This requirement also applies to high-risk congregate settings like adult and senior residential facilities, homeless shelters and jails. These steps will help protect vulnerable patients and residents.
The new policy for state workers will take effect August 2, with testing phased in over the next few weeks. The new policy for health care workers and congregate facilities will take effect on August 9; health care facilities will have until August 23 to come into full compliance.
The move comes as President Biden considers similar requirements for federal workers. Several employers including Google, The Washington Post and the California Medical Association (CMA) have adopted similar requirements for their employees.
Despite California leading the nation in vaccinations, with 75% of the eligible population having received at least one dose, the state is seeing increasing numbers of people who refused to get the vaccine being admitted to the ICU and dying. This increase is heavily due to the Delta variant.
As of last week, California’s statewide case rate more than quadrupled from a low in May of 1.9 cases per 100,000 per day to at least 9.5 cases per 100,000. Positive tests, which were at a low of 0.7% in June, have now risen to 5.2%. Hospitalizations that were at a low of under 900 in June are approaching 3,000. The vast majority of new cases are among the unvaccinated, with 600% higher case rates among the unvaccinated than the vaccinated.
CMA is reviewing this new information and how this will impact physician offices, and will continue to provide updates on these guidelines. For any additional questions, please contact our Member Resource Center at (800) 786-4262 or firstname.lastname@example.org.